Japan has told the United States it is ready to provide its robot technology for use in dismantling nuclear and uranium enrichment facilities in North Korea as Washington and Pyongyang pursue further denuclearization talks, government sources said Friday. As Japan turns to the remotely controlled robots it has developed to decommission reactors crippled by the triple core meltdown in 2011 at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, it believes the same technology can be used in North Korea, according to the sources. The offer is part of Japan's efforts to make its own contribution to the denuclearization talks amid concern that Tokyo could be left out of the loop as the United States and North Korea step up diplomacy. Tokyo has already told Washington it would shoulder part of the costs of any International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of North Korean facilities and dispatch its own nuclear experts to help. The scrapping of nuclear facilities, such as the Yongbyon complex, which has a graphite-moderated reactor, will come into focus in forthcoming working-level talks between Washington and Pyongyang.
In what is likely a warning to nuclear-armed North Korea, the U.S. military on Wednesday showed off to media its Global Hawk surveillance drone, which is temporarily deployed to its Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo. The massive drone, with a wingspan of about 40 meters and a length of about 15 meters, can fly for long durations at altitudes higher than manned aircraft. The main focus of the deployment is believed to be to collect surveillance data on the North's nuclear- and missile-related facilities as well Chinese military activity in the Western Pacific. The aircraft is one of five Global Hawks sent to Yokota from their home base in Guam to avoid the harsh summer typhoon season that annually hits the Pacific island. The drones are scheduled to operate out of Yokota until the end of October.